We live in an age where we have never had so many options, but we are drowning in clutter and indecision. Do you remember being a kid? I do. I remember getting big presents on my birthdays and Christmas, not just because it's Tuesday and I asked for something new. That's the difference it seems between then and now.
Kids have so much stuff these days... and hey no judgement because my daughter's an only child, there is a small village of us raising her and I have no control over whether the other adults decide to spoil her, or not and so- guys, the clutter is real. it happens! My daughter has a room FULL of stuff and she is always asking for more. BUT, she knows how to declutter, she actively does it (independently now) is learning slowly about consumerism. And the learning, that forward motion, is what is key.
We all grow up consumers, we are conditioned to be that way and our kids are no exception. They will be conditioned exactly the same by society and we have little control over that, but something we do have control over is:
What we choose to teach them
And how we model what we teach them
Walk Your Talk
How we model what we choose to teach our kids, is vital because there's an element of respect that gets lost in saying one thing and doing another. When our words don't align with our actions, it's difficult to trust the message, no matter how good the intention behind that message may be.
Here are some steps you can take to begin to teach your kids how to have a healthy, intentional relationship with their belongings:
Remember: You need to model the behaviour you're trying to teach them. Through being in alignment with what we stand for, we create trust & respect.
Teach them the ways of the world: don't "protect" them from the truth
In order to teach healthy relationships, we have to work on having and maintaining them. Honesty can be hard, but it is absolutely paramount to trust. We don't need to be brutal about the truth, we can find ways to gently communicate it.
These steps from my own, unique method combine priming your child for empathy with planting a seed from which your child will feel inspired to declutter. That's right... inspired!
I created my own method for decluttering with kids through successfully teaching my daughter from the age of three. She sometimes declutters on her own, without me needing to prompt her now, which is massive. She's nearly six now and I'm so proud that she is beginning to understand the personal and societal benefits of being mindful about what she chooses to have in her space and what she chooses to give away. I also talk to her about plastic and about how it is harmful to the planet. She knows buying second-hand is better for the planet. She understands those little throwaway toys are the most damaging kind of plastic toys and so she has stopped asking for them. I am so proud of her. But my work is not done, it is ongoing. Just as my own personal relationship with consumerism is.
So, let's get down to it- I'm giving you the intro to this amazing little framework for free, because I want your kids to thrive too. Here's how works:
Next time you go shopping, talk to your child about how some people don't have enough money for food. Explain to them how people with money can buy food for the people without any and donate it. Elaborate just for a moment to say how people can donate all kinds of things... toys, books, clothes...
Something I've learned is that all children are born inherently kind. That desire to love and spread the love is our true state.
Ask your child to pick out something that they'd like to buy with you to donate. If you don't have a lot of money, just give a controlled choice by picking up two items that cost less and get them to pick an option. It doesn't have to be expensive. That's not the point.
When you've finished paying for your shopping, let your child drop the donation into the food box. Notice how good they feel and congratulate them. Affirm them that what they've just done is very kind and will help feed a hungry child and family.
Now, it's time to start incorporating this around the home. Involve them with your own decluttering practise around the home and talk to them about it while you're doing it. Check out my declutter tips here.
I always recommend the first decluttering session with your child to be on a special occasion- such as birthday, or Christmas- when they receive lots of presents. This is because, in my experience, some kids can get quite territorial over their toys and so this first initial step can be met with a lot of resistance- that's totally normal. But if you catch them when they have lots of toys around them & you remind them of those kids that don't have any toys, they're more likely to agree to let go of some of their old toys because they're distracted by all the shiny new ones.
Now, we move onto maintenance... schedule your FREE consultation with me. I can't wait to teach you and your family my own, unique method that can develop you all into having a healthy relationship with your stuff; one that creates more space and time for the things in your life that really matter to you.
And just a note: whatever you do... please DO NOT get rid of your child's belongings without their permission. When they're a baby? Fine, but as soon as your child is old enough to be asking stuff, they are old enough to start learning & making their own decisions about what they do with it.
I hope you found this intro helpful. To learn more about how to mange your home and life with a family, how to improve your productivity, organisation and learn more about mindful consumption please get in touch for your free consultation. I can't wait to teach you some really valuable things that are going to transform your life for the better.
Curious about all the benefits of decluttering? Click here!
You got this babe. I am rooting for you! Don't forget to subscribe for more tips on all things Decluttering, Organising, Parenthood & Wellbeing.
Sending you so much love!